fourth of july road safety

Being Cautious on the Road During the Fourth of July Weekend

The Fourth of July weekend is right around the corner and this means there will be many motorists sharing the road with large tractor-trailers, motorcyclists and maybe even a few pedestrians. Keeping yourself aware of all surroundings and obeying traffic signs is a must. Here are a few more things to look out for during this coming Fourth of July weekend.

Before heading out on the road this July 4th weekend, make sure to have coverage by getting in touch with us.

Driving with Tractor-Trailers

Tractor-trailers can weigh up to 80,000 pounds, and that much weight can hinder these large vehicles from stopping quickly. Cutting in front of one traveling at a moderate speed is not a good idea. Remember, this much weight can also hinder these large vehicles from accelerating quickly, so avoid tailgating.

Many of these trucks do not have collision-absorbing bumpers, so leaving at least four car distances between you and an 18-wheeler can give you plenty of time to stop. Large trucks have four glaring blind spots where cars can disappear from view, so be sure to give them room to operate.

Motorcyclists: Keep a Lookout for Them

Driving a motorcycle can be dangerous, especially at night. When you’re on the road this Fourth of July, be sure to look twice for motorcyclists on the road. Just like a tractor-trailer, give a biker plenty of room when in front or behind them. Motorcycles are not equipped with collision-absorbing bumpers and riders are not buckled in, so when passing them, be sure to give them the room they need. The two places motorcycle crashes are most likely to occur are at intersections and when changing lanes, so be cautious.

Crossing Tracks

Railroad tracks are friendly and bumpy reminders to slow down when on the road. Be sure to look both ways when crossing a railroad track, and listen for any oncoming trains. Texas law requires drivers to yield the right of way for trains, so if you see red lights flashing or lowered crossing arms, stop, but not on the tracks. Trains take time and distance to come to complete stops. To give you an idea of how long it takes a train to stop, one traveling 50 miles per hour needs a mile and a half to come to a halt. Do the smart thing and stop when you see one approaching.

Work Zone Awareness

Work zones are nothing new. Slow down when driving through them as traffic fines can double when workers are present and moving violations can get as high as $400 each. If you come up to a work zone, be patient. A delay might be frustrating, so plan ahead and leave a few minutes earlier if you know you will be approaching work zones or take a different route.

Emergency Vehicles

When coming up to first-response vehicles, drivers must change lanes to allow them to pass. If switching lanes is not an option, slow down and pull over to the side. Motorists who break this law can face hefty fines.

Driver Fatigue

A long road trip can take its toll on even the most experienced driver. If you feel sleepy on the road, pull over and take a short break. Texas has plenty of rest areas along the state and national highways, including many that have recently been renovated. Drowsy or drunk driving can affect alertness, reaction time and judgment. According to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s study, drowsy drivers involved in crashes are twice as likely to make performance errors compared to alert drivers.

Also keep in mind that the Fourth of July weekend will also see a lot of alcohol consumption. Be careful on the road with other drivers. And if you plan on drinking, don’t drive. Get a ride home or call a taxi service. Don’t ruin this joyous time by being irresponsible.

Words of Wisdom

Shepard Walton King’s Chris Graham spoke at length about road trips, what to take and what to have ready. “Keep your insurance information with you so that if something happens, you can get ahold of your insurance company right away. Also, keep a few essentials with you, too. Make sure to have flares, jumper cables, water and other things so that if you run into trouble, you’ll have a few tools to help you out. Also, keep your phone charged and tell someone where you’re going. Don’t drive off without a plan.”

Be Prepared and Protected

Before taking to the road on the Fourth of July, make sure to have an auto policy that fits your needs. Shepard Walton King truly cares about you and your family and wants to help you find a policy that will have you ready for the road at all times. Contact our insurance brokers in McAllen to get started today.

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